The UK had another breakout year for internet consumption in 2007, with some 36.8 million Britons having gone online, according to eMarketer, which forecasts that number to reach 42.8 million in 2012 – or about 70% of the population.
When it comes to broadband, the UK is a mature market, but penetration is still increasing steadily, and survey data suggests that 90% of at-home internet users will enjoy high-speed connections in 2008, according to eMarketer’s “UK Internet Users and Usage” report.
The UK has one of the most experienced and active online populations in the world. Confidence in e-commerce is generally high, and the UK will account for at least 40% of 2008 online sales in Western Europe.
“The number of buyers and the average annual spend per buyer are both growing, helping the country to maintain its e-commerce lead over other European nations,” said Karin von Abrams, author of the report.
Besides shopping, UK consumers are increasingly turning to their PCs for entertainment. And TV viewing is declining as a result. In October 2007, nearly one-third (30%) of UK adults with internet access watched less television (offline) as a result of surfing the internet, according to Ofcom.
As more consumers fashion their own viewing, rather than waiting for scheduled shows, TV companies are looking to on-demand TV to maintain and expand viewer numbers, eMarketer said.